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Reiko the Zombie Shop
ゾンビ屋 れい子
(Zombie-ya Reiko)
Genre Comedy, Horror
Manga
Author Rei Mikamoto
Publisher Bunkasha
English publisher United States Dark Horse
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Horror M
Original run 19992004
Volumes 11
Anime and Manga Portal

Reiko the Zombie Shop (ゾンビ屋 れい子 Zombie-ya Reiko ?) is a Japanese manga series by Rei Mikamoto, chronicling the exploits of Reiko Himezono, a teenage “zombie shop”, or a "...necromancer-for-hire employed by bereaved families to resurrect departed loved ones for a short time so that the dead may impart their final truths to the living.” Eleven tankoubon have been released by Bunkasha Comics. Six volumes have been released in English by Dark Horse Comics, translated by Michael Gombos. However, according to Dark Horse, the series' English publication has been discontinued.

Contents

Summary

Volume One

Reiko is introduced as a schoolgirl and a "zombie shop"; a professional necromancer who, for a substantial fee, reanimates the dead, for the purpose of obtaining information from them. This offers her an opportunity to work as a detective and solve murder cases by temporarily reviving the victim and asking them who killed them. In the introductory acts of the book, for instance, she resurrects a girl who committed suicide, who, unbeknownst to her mother, was being molested by her father. The zombified girl kills the father, and, in a black-humour twist common to the series, the mother pays Reiko double her prior fee to reanimate the father so she can torture him.

This volume mostly follows an unconnected episodic format, with each successive act or chapter being a recounting of a separate case. These include a jealous killing among her circle of friends, an obsessive biology teacher attempting to bring back a beloved student, a tussle with bank robbers, and a stint as an unusual bodyguard for a dying goth-rock star. However, acts not featuring Reiko begin to appear, which cut away to the exploits of teenage serial killer Saki Yurikawa. Driven by a fanatical desire to have a younger sister to care for, Yurikawa kidnaps young girls and tries to force them into a sisterly role, but they inevitably end up fearing and hating her, causing her to become enraged and murder them. In the final chapters, Reiko and Yurikawa's paths converge when Reiko is called in to a hospital by the police to revive one of Yurikawa's victims. The young zombie goes berserk and tracks down Yurikawa, who happens to be in the hospital at the time with another girl. Reiko and Yurikawa fight; Reiko is killed, but, having anticipated this, manages to zombify herself with a tape-recorded incantation. She defeats Yurikawa, but not before being reduced herself to only a severed head, apparently lifeless. Yurikawa eventually becomes her "contract" zombie as the series furthers.

Volume Two

After a chance confrontation between two opposing factions of necromancers, Reiko manages to attach her head to a freshly-killed body, returning her to non-zombie status. She joins forces with a group of young zombie summoners, Yuki and Rudoh, who oppose the more malevolent majority consisting of a cult of necromancers led by Reiko's elder sister Riruka, who seek "global zombification".

In this volume, a Pokémon-like element is introduced, whereby summoners each have a "faithful zombie" they can call forth to fight on their side. Reiko's faithful is a zombified (and significantly more scantily-clad) Yurikawa, now mindlessly and speechlessly bound to Reiko's will.

Along with the adversary Riruka, a new major ally is introduced in this volume - a mercenary named Jasmine, a somewhat vapid and heartless but talented fighter, who interrupts a climactic fight scene to offer her skills to the highest bidder. Reiko rejects her steep asking price, but saves her life, thereby indebting her to her cause.

The volume ends with Reiko and Jasmine fighting their way through Riruka's castle, one of Riruka's assistants having tricked Reiko's summoner friends into killing one another.

Characters

  • Reiko Himezono: Reiko is the main character of the manga. She is the Zombie Shop, a necromancer-for-hire who brings the dead back to life. For a price. Reiko manages to keep her business ethics and her personal feelings separate, following out her contracts with her clients word by word. If by any chance her client has violated his end of the bargain, such as skimping on the bill or keeping any details about her job secret, she voids the contract and leaves them to the mess they've made. Reiko is very down-to-earth and miserly, being almost always driven by money. She even goes as far as to charge her friend for a job. In the first volume, when she becomes hired by a famous rock star to re-animate him on stage if anything should happen, he offers to pay her over 3,000,000 yen, and she hopes throughout the story that he does die so she can collect the money. She is reduced to a severed head by the end of the first volume due to Saki Yurikawa, but her head is then attached to the body of a recently killed teenage girl.
  • Saki Yurikawa: Introduced in the first volume's side-stories, titled Dead Sister, Saki is a teenaged serial killer, a homicidal maniac who forces young girls to be her "little sister", and then brutually murders them when they refuse. When she was younger her original little sister, Midori, died. It's not stated if she herself committed the act, or if Midori's death is what turned her into a psychopath. Since then, she's murdered over thirty young girls, and others who have gotten in her way. Saki meets her demise when she crosses paths with Reiko who, even reduced to a severed head, manages to kill Saki by summoning the souls of the people she's killed. From that point in the series, Saki serves the role as Reiko's "Faithful Zombie", silently following Reiko's orders.
  • Riruka Himezono: Riruka is Reiko's psychotic and megalomaniacal twin sister, introduced in the second volume. Riruka dreams of ruling the world with a zombie army at her command, but the one thorn in her side has been her sister. Her backstory was given in the third volume. Since she was a child, Riruka had taken great pleasure in causing fear in her sister, and used her summoning powers on small animals which she butchered and sewed together. Her parents, who had given both girls equal love and attention, considered sending Riruka away and chose Reiko to be the Zombie Shop's successor, so Riruka orchestrated their death in an airplane crash using a zombified rat hidden in their luggage. Reiko and Riruka were then sent to separate orphanages and didn't see one another for years. During Riruka's time in an orphanage, her abilities caught the eye of a group of summoners, whom quickly fell under her control as she began dreaming of world conquest.

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